The Consumerization of Big Data

BalingTwineOne of the biggest drivers of change in corporate IT over 15 years has been the demands from employees driven by their personal experience with technology at home.  Our intranet is dorky?  It should be as easy to use as Facebook or Amazon.  You want me to use this locked down Blackberry with poor connectivity?  I just purchased an iPhone that is way easier to use.

IT folks who value their jobs can no longer ignore the rank and file and have to get much more customer focused.  BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) didn’t come about because the IT is feeling generous, but because several C level people leaned on him to make it possible for them to use the device of their choice.

Interestingly, something similar is happening with big data, which I blogged about a few years ago (blog post here)  I was at a big data conference run by my friend David Feinleib recently and heard about the split between the big data vision (The ability to mine unlimited amounts of unstructured data quickly and easily, visualization of myriad metrics easily and quickly.)  and the reality (Analysts waiting weeks to get a download from the company mainframe and manipulating the data in spreadsheets.

Well, the pressure to change the reality is coming from your everyday experience with big data.  Use Google to find something today?  Big Data.  Use your iPhone to find your way to your dinner reservation?  Big data.  Frustrated by the fact that your credit card company doesn’t make your transaction data available in a way that is easy to search, format and display?  You’ve got the big data itch.

I remember a friend at large wireless carrier who had worked on their billing systems a number of years ago telling me the plumbing behind their consumer UI was held together with baling wire and binder twine because they had grown quickly through acquisition and had acquired some fairly proprietary, siloed systems.  Well, I hope that they have their systems replumbed because the demands on those systems are only going to increase.  Dramatically

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